Ossie/PhOtOmachine/Palace The Love Below 002
An offshoot of the Berlin/London-based label somethinksounds, and an imprint devised as a home for limited-release edits, The Love Below opened for business earlier in the year with popular young Swiss remixer Cyril Hahn's highly hyped house versions of Solange Knowles and Destiny's Child. This sophomore release finds a diverse trio of artists being reworked by three up-and-coming London house producers.
Ossie, an artist who has previously released on Hyperdub, is someone with a keen and faithful ear for true house music, both in his flowing, limber production and his properly skilled DJ sets. His remix of "Shakara," an early track by Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, nicely juxtaposes clipped, techy rhythms with tightly looped samples of guitar and vocals from the original. It's a simple club track that doesn't try anything flashy, but it succeeds in using the funk and sweat of the Nigerian dance sound for something a little different that should still sit well with modern dancefloors.
Second up is PhOtOmachine's languid, pulsing edit of Musiq, a contemporary Philadelphian soul singer. The squashed drums and gasps of melody are layered nicely, but Talib Johnson's voice doesn't sit well, and the whole track cries out for a more nuanced and dynamic progression. The result is a mixture of elements that feels like an unfinished product.
Remixing Tweet's brilliant, swooning R&B classic "Oops (Oh My)" is not a task that should be taken lightly, especially after Hudson Mohawke's bashy and unparalleled version from a few years back. Palace definitely doesn't rise to the occasion here, as the vocals feel rushed and out of place atop the producer's uninspired framework of 4x4 garage bounce and reversed strings. It's a shame that, apart from Ossie's effective contribution, the otherwise talented producers here aren't showcasing the considered, well-executed production that they've previously proven capable of.
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